For a group of sixth graders, finding the whereabouts of school nurse Kathy Walsh was part of an exercise proving that forensic investigations are fun for these gifted kids.
The Culpeper Middle School students used five clues inside the nurses office to find her. The mock crime scene was part of the mystery and forensics class taught by gifted specialist Rhonda Bolum. The class is part of the school’s Academic Challenging Education elective course.
The evidence they collected was stored behind yellow caution tape. It included a tennis racket, a book, breath mints, a blue coffee cup, and a woman’s tennis shoe. “Who would harm Ms. Walsh? Imagine that. No more Tylenol today,” said Dana Martz, a Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office deputy. She led the mock investigation, describing the situation for the young students.
Teams divided into three groups, appointing one member to take notes and another to collect evidence. A third member took photos of the scene.
“You are going to document whatever it is you find. Your job is to find out who kidnapped Ms. Walsh,” instructed Martz.